Cancer-Libra potentially resonates with the square between two planets.  However, an out-of-sign sextile aspect is also possible between planets in very late Cancer and very early Libra and out-of-sign trines are also possible between planets in very early Cancer and very late Libra.  Thus, the Cancer-Libra relationship, while generally difficult, is complex with the potential for either conflict or harmony.   Interpreting the Cancer-Libra combination may also shed some light on a number of related symbol sets.  These include Cancer in the seventh house, Libra in the fourth house, the Moon in Libra, Venus in Cancer, the Moon in the seventh house, Venus in the fourth house and aspects between the Moon and Venus.

As a reminder, “container” is used here as a general term designating a planet whether in one’s own chart or another’s.  When in another’s chart, “container” may practically be viewed to mean the other person.  So that the analysis doesn’t wind up seeming too cold and depersonalized, I will sometimes use the personal pronoun (you) in lieu of the impersonal “container.”  Recognize that either term can refer to a planetary energy within you or your relationship with another person.

With Cancer-Libra, we have the juxtaposition of Cardinal Water and Cardinal Air.  Water and Air are generally viewed as incompatible elements.  With both elements in the Cardinal mode, the tendency of containers in these two signs is to pull in different and conflicting directions.  Images that can be associated with this dynamic include a steady wind blowing across an ocean current, a jet of water crossing a jet of air or water spouting from a hose on a windy day, water rising through an air current, or rain falling in a storm.

It is noteworthy that, at least apparently, in all of these images, air is the dominant element.  Wind blowing across an ocean current makes the water on the surface choppy; a jet of water blown by the wind has its flow disrupted; water taken up by an air current is controlled by the strong forces of updraft; and rain falling in a thunderstorm is blown and carried by the wind.  Nevertheless, in most of the images we can see the potential for a disturbing reaction that affect the air, as well. 

Of course, we are not used to thinking of Libra as assertive in the way that wind is a force.  We can reframe this image, however, if we think of Cardinal Air as representing the active manifestation of the social and egalitarian qualities inherent in the Air element.  It is Libra's insistence on the predominance of social perspective and its quest for fairness and balance that is the force symbolized by wind and moving air.  This is in contrast to Cardinal Water's imperative which is to manifest qualities based in emotion, which is always personal, or person-centered.  While the sextile and trine possibilities of the Cancer-Libra combination point to a positive interaction of the social and emotional/personal, the predominant square suggests that, in the Cancer-Libra dynamic, the tendency is for these imperatives to be at odds with each other and the imagery that this combination evokes suggests that it is the social dynamic of Libra that tends to press against the personal dynamic of Cancer.

In its association with the seventh house, Libra, developmentally, is opening to the Other and beginning to incorporate the Other and the needs of the Other into their world.  This requires a certain allowance of vulnerability, a willingness to extend the self and accepting the possibility that you will be rejected.  The possibility of rejection is always there for Libra, which is one thing that makes Libra so insecure and willing to place the need and pleasure of another above their own needs and pleasure.  This imperative towards openness and vulnerability flies in the face of Cancer's tendency to protect and shelter tbemselves, withdrawing behind your boundaries in order to protect your vulnerable emotional interior.  Ironically, there are striking similarities between the Libra container's willingness to give preference to another with whom they are interacting (whether in a long term relationship or a casual social interaction) and the Cancer container's nurturing and care-giving qualities, which also require that you place others' needs above your own.  The difference, however, is that those whom the Cancer container would nurture and protect are "their own," whether it blood family or someone else (or some group) with whom you have established a "maternal" bond.  This bond is inherently possessive (unless you have transcended the possessive nature of Cancerian relationship) and, therefore, it exists within boundaries that provide you with a sense of comfort and security.  Also, it is the Cancer container who controls the interaction within the nurturing relationship (even when their charges are demanding).

Thus, the Libra container is likely to threaten the Cancer container's sense of security and of "owning" their environment by bringing in "outside" actors who are strangers to Cancer's literal or figurative family and demanding, through their actions and attitude, that these actors be treated on an equal par with those with whom you have close emotional ties.  Thus, the Libra container often will consciously or unconsciously try to force the Cancer container to go outside their comfort zone and act towards others by placing the demands of social engagement ahead of the rules governing emotional ties and interactions.  This is likely to cause discomfort, even extreme discomfort, for the Cancer container.  At the same time, the Cancer container's likely reluctance to ignore the rules and behaviors that keep them emotionally safe is likely to prove frustrating for the Libra container.  The Libra container is likely to wonder why their Cancer counterpart insists on being so socially reserved, withdrawn, easily offended and defensive, and to become quite annoyed at this Cancerian behavior.

As noted above, there is also opportunity for common ground in the Cancer-Libra relationship, although this may easily be upset.  There are times and circumstances when the Cancerian nurturing role may positively enhance the Libran imperative to achieve harmony and social acceptance.  This requires, however, an acceptance of the Cancer container in the "mother" role.  That role may be manifested either externally, in conjunction with relationship of the partners with others, or internally, when the Cancer container takes on the nurturing role within the Cancer-Libra relationship.  If the Libra container wants the relationship to be an equal partnership, however, the Cancer container's nurturing/mothering role in the relationship may get old.  The Cancer container may try to accommodate their Libra partner but it is not in your nature to be other than nurturing/dominant.  The Libra container may also try to accommodate their Cancer partner's nature but be inwardly resentful at their partner's failure to change, as well as resistant to their Cancer partner's "mothering," which they may see as domination. 

There is also opportunity for a positive dynamic between the Cancer and Libra containers through the Cancer container bringing emotional intelligence to the Cancer-Libra relationship or by contributing emotional intelligence to the Libra container's handling of relationships.  It is not as if the Libra container is likely to be emotionally tone-deaf.  It is just that the Cancer container can bring an added emotional awareness that can help the Libra container negotiate relationships better and, perhaps, help the Libra container achieve harmony without going to their default reaction of giving up their own needs and desires.  Problems may occur, however, when Cancerian emotions are perceived to get in the way of preserving harmonious relationships.  The Libra container is likely to have little tolerance for the display of emotional needs or reactive responses from the Cancer container that disrupt social harmony.  On the other hand, your insistence on not rocking the boat and accommodating to preserve social harmony at all costs may be seen by the Cancer container as unreasonable, controlling and restricting their freedom to emotionally express themself.

Conflicts between Cancer and Libra can often result in a contest of passivity.  Both containers frequently shun conflict--Cancer through withdrawal and retreat behind emotional barriers, and Libra through disengagement or accommodation.  In both instances, such avoidance of conflict can trigger inner resentment that can result in reactive sniping on the part of the Cancer container and passive-aggressive behavior by the Libra container. I would speculate, based on the images conjured above, that the Cancer container is usually the first to give in to Libra in any contest, passive or active. 

At another level, Cancer's contact with the emotional self can run deep into the subconscious.  There, it is subject to karmic patterns that condition the Cancer container's behavior and response.  Going still deeper, through the subconscious the self may reach that well-spring of life, the Primordial Unconscious and the domain of the Divine Feminine in Her Mother mode.  This is a place of stillness and perfect receptivity.  Libra, at least in its normal consciousness mode, experiences at the surface of consciousness.  The social engagement and interpersonal relationships that are the Libra container's concern live in the world of consensual reality, with all its mental noise and activity.  For, being an Air sign, the Libra container's behavior and responses are dominated by the personal mind.  Whatever else with which it is occupied, the Libra mind is generally focused on the self's relationship to others in the world, alert to keeping those relationships intact and harmonious.  This outward focus is basically a distraction to the Cancer container's inward focus.  At the behavioral motivation level, the Libra container is likely to constantly seek to overcome the instinctive, reactive conditioning of the Cancer container and supplant this with an awareness and concern for keeping harmony with others. 

At a deeper level, the Libra container's preoccupation with social acceptance and the transient occurrences in the social world disturb the inner stillness for which the Cancer container longs.  This conflict can be resolved, of course, once the Libra container goes to their deepest place, communion with the Divine Beloved.  One could, of course, find disparity in the two approaches--Cancer's re-absorption into matrix of the Divine Mother and Libra's union with the Divine Beloved--but, in the end, they are one and the same.

Another facet of Libra is its quest for balance in the form of justice.  This presumes and incorporates a concern for the other, whether from an awareness that injustice leads to harmony-disrupting conflict or from a projection of the self onto the oppressed in an unjust relationship.  Cancer's world, on the other hand, is intensely personal.  For the Cancer container, the concerns of providing comfort and protection within their personal world will generally overpower any concern about injustice in the remote world.  While this conflict in values can play out in the ideological realm between the two containers, it can result in conflict at the personal level if one or the other feels that their core values are being threatened or dismissed.  If you perceive the activities of your Libra partner as endangering your security or the security of your family, this is something that you are not likely to abide.  This does not always have to include a political dimension; the concern may be triggered by something as simple as the Libran partner's desire to help a friend fallen on unfortunate circumstances.  Whether in response to such a Cancerian reaction or to your Cancer partner's apathy toward situations of injustice, you may perceive the Cancer container as selfish, callous, or small-minded. Such an attitude is sure to ultimately result in conflict and disharmony within the Cancer-Libra relationship.

Looking at the ruling planets of these two signs can also throw light on the relationship between Cancer and Libra containers.  On the surface, it would appear that the dynamic between the Moon and Venus would promote harmony between containers in the two signs.  Both planets are associated with aspects of the emotional system within the psyche.  The Moon symbolizes the emotional base or general state of emotional being.  The basic emotional stuff of the psyche is grounded in or manifests from the subconscious.  It is the basic emotional makeup, combined with habitual patterns of emotional response, that forms our conditioning, which is emotionally reactive in nature.  Venus symbolizes a specialization of the emotional function and of the emotional conditioning mechanism.  The evaluative function associated with Venus uses our conditioned attractions and repulsions, or likes and dislikes, to select pleasurable stimuli and situations and to gravitate towards those and away from unpleasant experiences.  Thus, when the psyche is whole and the emotional functions are properly aligned, the needs and desire of the Libra container for pleasant environments, both physical and social, should serve the Cancer container's need for a comfortable and secure environment and experience. 

Conflict between the containers in the two signs must, therefore, originate when the emotional needs and desires of the two containers are not well aligned.  In exercising its evaluation function, Venus utilizes and develops the faculty of discrimination, or buddhi, in Hindu terminology.  The more developed the buddhi, the more independent the self can become of its unconscious conditioning.  The more individuated the self becomes, the more it is likely to perceive the conditioned responses and behaviors of the unconscious as irrational.  Thus, the Libra container may perceive themself as acting from a more rational and self-determined position, while perceiving the needs and desires of their Cancer partner as irrational.  A dynamic is possible in which the Libra container essentially says, "my desires and decisions are more valid than yours (the Cancer container's)."  Because the needs and desires of the Cancer container are likely to be rooted in conditioned emotional drives, they will feel vitally important to you and you are likely to dismiss your Libra partner's desires and decisions as motivated by superficial concerns in comparison.  This perception is likely to be magnified if the Libra container is, indeed, merely pursuing their pleasure as opposed to the Cancer container's emphasis on more basic security needs. 

Finally, we can view the Cancer-Libra dynamic through the lens of their respective glyphs.  At first take, there does not seem to be much of a connection between the Cancer Crab (or Breasts) and the Libra Balance.  We can say that a scale can be used to weigh crabs when they are caught and sold.  This would, again, seem to support a tendency for the Libra container to dominate or have the upper hand over the Cancer container.  We can also view the two glyphs as representing two differing approaches to life.  Cancer Breasts are associated with the sustenance and
nurturing that a mother provides and, thus, with a basic connection to life at its source.  The Scale is associated with judgment, which occurs at an abstract level beyond the level of basic life force that is associated with the Cancer glyph.  This emphasizes the point that the Cancer container will tend to view life from an instinctual level, with the basic needs of life preeminent, while the Libra container will tend to view life more abstractly, placing greater emphasis on rational decisions affecting the artifacts of life.  From the Cancerian perspective, their need for emotional security and comfort within the safety of the personal, the home and family is of primal importance.  From the Libran perspective, those needs will often be seen as less important, as something associated with a lower level of development.  Thus, there is a tendency for the Libra container to dismiss the needs and desires of the Cancer container, which are paramount to them. 

The Cancer container generally will not consider their primal needs to be subject to judgment or evaluation.  There can be no question of their importance.  On the other hand, the Cancer container is likely to not understand or appreciate the evaluative mode in which their Libra counterpart continually functions.  Why abstract life when it is so easy and right to make decisions from your gut, following your instincts or your intuition?  Essentially, the Cancer container may not trust the validity of the decisions and judgments of their Libra counterpart (especially when they see those decisions being so labored). 

We can also look at the two glyphs as representing two differing approaches to the duality of the world.  The Cancer glyph also resembles the classic Tao, or Yin/Yang symbol.  The essence of this symbol is that there is no absolute division between the opposites, whether dark/evil-light/good or otherwise.  Rather, those polarities interchange at differing levels of consciousness or at each turn of the wheel, or, in other words, each polarity is contained within its opposite.  This realization tends to promote an attitude of acceptance of the dualities of existence and of the ups and downs of life.  In fact, it is likely that the mood changes famously associated with Cancer may create a learned experience through which the Cancer container accepts that the wheel will surely turn--happiness is sure to be followed by sorrow and the sun will eventually break through the dark clouds. 

The Libran Scales, on the other hand, symbolize a different approach to duality.  There is much more of a tendency to see duality as mutually exclusive choices, if not as pairs of absolutes.  This tends to result in less acceptance of "negative" states by the Libra container.  Those states are frequently associated with the "unpleasant" stimuli which Librans, through the Venus influence, are conditioned to avoid.  This also results in a greater tendency to place judgment on those "negative" polarities and anything, or anyone, associated with them.  This can often result in Libran intolerance for Cancer's down mood states or for any "negative" emotion expressed by the Cancer container.  The Cancer container's "negative" states are often viewed by the Libra container as disruptive to a state of harmony, by which they really mean dissonant to the state of pleasure to which the Libra container is attracted. 

The Cancer container, on the other hand, may react to their Libra partner's impatience with their "negative" states.  They are likely to feel intruded upon by their Libra partner who, in their annoyance at your down mood or insistence to "get over it" (and stop disrupting my peace and tranquility), are depriving you of your right to your own emotions.  You know that this state of melancholy will pass and cannot understand why your Libran partner is so insensitive to your need to emotionally process and be in your emotions for a while.

Of course, the Cancer container will not always be so aware of the dictum, "This too shall pass."  They may be so absorbed in the emotional moment that they see no way out of their mood of the moment.  This, of course, is likely to provoke an even stronger Libran reaction to just return to balance.  A resolution may be found in a further exploration of the Libra glyph, which can be associated with a state of equanimity.  This is similar to the acceptance of revolving states of duality to which Cancer can attain and it allows the Libra container to accept their Cancer counterpart's revolving emotional states even when the Cancer container has not evolved to that recognition.  For the essence of equanimity is that one maintains an undisturbed state of mind regardless of whether confronted by pleasant or unpleasant circumstances.

Of course, all of the Cancer-Libra dynamics can play out internally, as well as between two people.  The Cancer-Libra energy will also be modulated by the planets involved, whether in your own chart or someone else’s.  The depositorships of the Moon and Venus may also come into play.  Gargatholil 

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